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Apple faces a dilemma over Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation,’ which was considered an Oscar contender before the actor slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars.
The backlash Smith has faced in recent months has reportedly had Apple executives discussing whether to release the film this year – in time for awards season – or wait until 2023.
The New York Times reported that “the sensitivity of the situation is evident”.
The outlet, citing three sources, reports that there have been discussions within the company to release “Emancipation” later this year. However, it has already been reported that the film could be pushed back to 2023.
WILL SMITH OPENS UP ON CHRIS ROCK OSCARS SLAP
According to the Times, Apple implemented a screening test earlier this year. Sources said the film received positive reactions, including for Smith’s performance, and that viewers weren’t discouraged by Smith’s recent behavior.
The Civil War drama, which Apple reportedly spent $120 million on, could be eligible for next awards season if it comes out this year.
However, even if the film is released and wins an Oscar, Smith would not be present at the awards ceremony as he has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy also banned him from attending the ceremony and any Academy-related events for the next 10 years.
Apple did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
CHRIS ROCK ADDRESSED WILL SMITH OSCAR SLAP DURING COMEDY TOUR WITH KEVIN HART: ‘I AM NOT A VICTIM’
Smith slapped Rock as he presented an award at the 2022 Academy Awards. Rock had just made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her baldness. Minutes later, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard.” It was the actor’s first Oscar win.
Smith apologized to Rock and uploaded a video to YouTube and spoke at length about the infamous slap.
The ‘Gemini Man’ actor revealed he reached out to Rock to discuss the incident, but claimed the comedian wasn’t ready to sit down with him. He also spent the five-minute video apologizing to Rock and others – including Rock’s mother, Rose Rock.
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“I want to apologize to Chris’ mom,” Smith said in the video. “I saw an interview that Chris’ mom did and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment that I just didn’t realize and, you know, I didn’t think , but how many people were injured at that time, “said the actor.
Smith ended the video by explaining that “disappointing people” is his “core trauma.”
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“I hate when I let people down,” Smith said. “So it hurts. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know that I haven’t lived up to the image and the impression that people have of me and the work that I’m trying to do. is that I am deeply remorseful and I try to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.”